What We Thought The Year 2001 Would Look Like Back In 1967

The godfather of news, Walter Cronkite, had a regular show on CBS called The 21st Century that showed off technology of the future. One episode that aired on March 12, 1967 showed off what a home would look like in 2001: 3D TV, videophones, some gigantic machine that sounds a lot like Twitter, robot servants and more.

Smithsonian Mag got a hold of the episode that predicted what the home of 2001 would look like and included a few short clips of Cronkite showing off the "futuristic" living room, office and kitchen. Other than being better designed than most homes now, Cronkite and crew came pretty close to what we're seeing today (albeit 12 years later).

The living room focused on having a console that can control all the fixture in the home and the home office had a instant news service console and another console for video conferencing. Stuff like that isn't as unwieldy as we imagined it back then because everything can be just done with one computer.

We haven't reached the predictions for the futuristic kitchen yet though. Cronkite said:

Meals in this kitchen of the future are programmed. The menu is given to the automatic chef via typewriter or punched computer cards. The proper prepackaged ingredients are conveyed from the storage area and moved into this microwave oven where they are cooked in seconds. When the meal is done the food comes out here. When the meal is ready, instead of reaching for a stack of plates I just punch a button and the right amount of cups and saucers are moulded on the spot.

Either way, I love how predictions for the future are always limited by our concepts for the present. Back in 1967, we could imagine different tasks being controlled by one console but we couldn't imagine multiple consoles being controlled by one computer (or smartphone or tablet). It makes you wonder what the limitations of today's technology does to our imagination of the future. [Smithsonian Mag, Consumerist]


    watching things like this all ways make me laugh

    Well we're almost there. Dont think the plates thing will come any time soon though.

    The concepts are there, the implementation is just a bit whack.

      The concepts are bang on, and interestingly, while the execution is wrong, the design used in the concepts isnt too far from what you'd see in a current high design house.

      I found it curious that 3D sounded so cool back then, but in the past couple of years, we just havent been wowed by it.

    Pretty amazing that they could get somewhat close. Anybody have predictions they want to put on record for 2059?

    related : This article from 1901 predicting how life / society would change throughout the 20th century.

    Edit: link fixed.

    Edit 2: also, this guy was freakishly accurate with some of his speculation.

    Last edited 01/02/13 10:27 am

    I think for it's time, 2001: A Space Odyssey was pretty spot on. What other technology predictors didn't factor in, is that like technology, colour schemes change. Everything is shiny this, and bright that.

    Also, 60s brown is a horrible colour. Makes me want to give those damn lemons back to life and get infused with praying mantis DNA for Aperture testing!

    I like watching things like this, it shows how people with dreams work extremely hard to make them happen.

    I always keep on thinking that it was a group of super nerds that made the PADD device a reality in the form of iPad/Tablet computers. Hell I had the Tricorder App interface on my Galaxy 7.

    He was pretty much correct with the top video about most of our lives will be spent in front of computers, I guess they never thought multi tasking on the same machine was going to be a thing. :-)

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now